Interview: Star Shaped City

Tell me about this band’s first show?
The first gig we performed as the current line-up was Beverley Cafe. It was by far the most complicated set-up we’d done, but it was also the most enjoyable. We had a huge amount of stage space so we could be as energetic as cable length permitted, and we got a very appreciative response, and an encore! This gig was also Tim’s first, so he was a bundle of terrified and excited all at once… Before Tim joined the first gig we played was the Youth Service, again at the Minster. We seem to play there alot.

What is your songwriting process?
Generally Ian and Gerald start with a riff or chord sequence, to which they add a vocal part, usually with lyrics. Sometimes the lyrics come later… They then run a bass part past James to check with him, then Kat works out a rough kit part. Then Timmy gets the track, to which he adds any keyboard parts and sometimes changes the structure. Then we rehearse together and keep refining, often right up to and past performances. Its a very collaborative process, everyone chips in with their own ideas.

Why did each of you choose your instruments?

Gerald – I took up the guitar because I wanted to be able to play songs that I knew and liked, and I always loved the sound of a lead guitar.
Kat – I’ve always wanted to play drums ever since I can remember. I blame my mum for bouncing me up and down too much when I was little.
James – I started playing bass from quite an early age. Id been learning guitar, but when I watched live I started taking an interest in the bass players. Somehow the bass felt a more interesting instrument to me, so I started playing bass primarily and adapted to that role in a band situation. I believe the bass, although relatively easy to learn, is a hard to master and is still an instrument I love playing everyday.
Tim – I wanted to be in a band and liked the fact that I could make a million different noises with one instrument.
Ian – Watching the film School of Rock made me want to buy a guitar.

Have you always played the kind of you play now?

As a band, yes we’ve always played the same sort of , but as individual players we come from different backgrounds. Kat comes from classical percussion and ensemble playing, so plays pretty much every style going, and James came from a thrash and death metal background.

Who or what has influenced your the most?
The band itself influences our . We write songs based on each others strengths and weaknesses, although we do each have our own ideas as to how we want something to sound. As to our songs content, experience is what influences us. We write about what we know, so we find that people can relate to and connect with them.

What artists to do you most admire?
Rammstein is favourite amongst us all, especially Timmy, James and Gerald. For all of us, musicians who did new things with their instruments or who were particularly talented are artists to admire. The list includes: Cliff Burton, Keith Moon, Tommy Lee, Joe Satriani, Newton Faulkner, Dave Grohl and Christian Lorenz.

If you weren’t musicians, what would you ideally do for a living instead?
Kat – Something music based? Ok that’s not allowed. Something Graphics-y.
Gerald – I’d be in Formula 1, as a senior technician or designer
Tim – I’m not old enough to know!
James – When I m not playing in SSC I work as a professional actor, so I am very lucky to already be doing my ideal jobs.
Ian  – I’d like to be a copper.

What was the first song you ever played as a group?
As this line up it was Bad Romance by Lady Gaga, but before Tim it would have been Hosanna by Hillsong United, for the Youth Service.

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